What is Emerald Clarity

Emeralds are formed naturally within the earth in various locations with different conditions and mineral compositions. High pressure and heat also come into the mix as the emerald is being formed. For this reason, each emerald has a different look and combination of inclusions. Clarity refers to the presence of inclusions or the lack of them. Emeralds that have less inclusions are naturally more valuable and more rare. Heavily included emeralds can look less beautiful as their ability to reflect light is lessened and their color is hidden by the inclusions. However, all emeralds do have some inclusions, and with proper cutting these won’t detract from the beauty of the emerald. Learn more about emerald color.

Shop Emerald Jewelry

Types of Inclusions in Natural Emeralds

Various inclusions can form naturally within an emerald. Each inclusion has a different appearance and affects the value of the emerald in different ways. Inclusions can typically be seen with the naked eye and all inclusions can be seen with a 10x microscope.

feather or fissure inclusions in a emerald

Fissures

Also called feathers, fissures are very commonly seen in natural emeralds. Unless fissures are found in a large number within the gemstone, they do not detract significantly from the look of the gemstone. These inclusions can look like lines or fractures within the emerald.

natural cavities or chips in an emerald

Cavities & Chips

These are the outline of a crystal shape within the emerald. The crystal is not actually present but has left a small cavity within the emerald.

growth tubes found inside the emerald

Growth Tubes

These are tubes that run parallel to one another within the structure of the emerald.

spiral inclusions in an emerald

Spiral

This twisting inclusions is formed when drops of water are trapped during the formation of an emerald within the gem.

small fingerprint like inclusions clustering in the emerald

Fingerprints

This natural shape resembles the look of a finger print and is formed by liquid filled bubbles in the emerald during formation.

Color Zoning in the emerald affects it's evenness of green

Color Zoning

Most emeralds are primarily green but do have other secondary colors such as blue and yellow. Uneven colors is when the color does not look uniform across the surface of the emerald. Inclusions can often cause color zoning making portions of the emerald look white or transparent. Color zoning is also something impacted by the cutting of the emerald. Cutters try to preserve the green hue and tone to make the color even.


Clarity Enhancing Treatments

Enhancement techniques are used to improve the look of the color and clarity of the emerald. Oftentimes, natural emerald do have clarity imperfections that can be permanently improved with these treatments. Unlike sapphires and rubies, emeralds are not treated with heat. It is rare to find an emerald that does not have color or clarity imperfections. 99% of emeralds are oil treated to enhance appearance. Four Mine uses only oil treated emeralds, that are chosen for their beauty and long-lasting appeal.

Oil Treatment: Emeralds typically have fissures, that are formed naturally within the earth. The filling substance which is typically oil is drawn into the cracks within the emerald. This improves the appearance of the emerald by minimizing the look of cracks. However, this treatment cannot significantly alter the look of the emerald. It also does not significantly improve an emerald that does not have many surface-reaching fissures.


Resin or Polymer: treated or filled with resin or polymer are treated in a similar fashion as those with oil. These treatments fill the emerald with a foreign substance that can detract from the overall look and value of the gem.


Wax Treatment: Another less common treatment involves heating wax and using it to fill the cracks within an emerald. However, this treatment is less desirable as it can leave behind a yellowish or gritty look when looked at under a microscope.


Shop Emerald Jewelry